Monday, November 16, 2009

Stockhausen : Stimmung - Theatre of Voices, Paul Hillier live

That old curmudgeon Sir Thomas Beecham was asked if he had ever conducted any Stockhausen.
No, he replied, but it's curious you should mention it I trod in some only yesterday.

Alas, a lot of avant-garde music of yesteryear is like the sci-fi of yesteryear – the vision of the future of the past. I get nostalgic listening to old time classics like Morton Subotnik's SilverApples of the Moon, which now seem as old as formica kitchens. Likewise the Helicopter Quartet, where each member of the string quartet plays from a helicopter hovering over the auditorium. I mean, puh-leeeuz! 

Stimmung, though, has somehow survived all this. I still like it, and feel it hasn't lost any of its lustre with the passage of time. Perhaps because writing for human voices places constraints on a composer that are fundamental.

This is a truly remarkable live performance, with Ian Dearden (sound projection), Theatre of Voices directed by Paul Hillier. It was recorded on 2nd of August 2008.

In deference to Boom, I should add that this recording is mp3 at about 230kbs variable bit rate. And I've no idea of its provenance. 

Download from Mediafire


  1. Nice blog, here!

    I thought it would be nice if you indicated the format and bitrait of your uploads (most of which are mp3, so the bitrait matters).
    Also the lineage would be nice as well. This Stimmung was a digital satellite broadcast by BBC, in high quality 192kbs format. To upload it in mp3 suggests that it was COMPRESSED AGAIN (thus degrading the sound quality of an already compressed sound).
    There are copies of this very recording which were captured in WAV directly on hard drive and uploaded in FLAC, thus preserving the exact original copy of the broadcast.

    Best wishes,

  2. I'll try and include bitrates, but, as you say, I often don't know the whole history of the recordings, so they could have been compressed and recompressed several times. I try to comment on the sound quality if this is relevant.

    In the case of this recording, I thought the sound was really excellent. But YMMV.